I’ve seen a lot of Passover desserts in my day. Unfortunately, many of them just don’t take the unleavened cake – they’re dry, flat, and dull. Several years ago, while teaching a Jewish holiday cooking series at my synagogue, my friend Hayley showed me a recipe that quickly become a staple in my kitchen: Matzah Toffee Crunch. At the time, I felt like I had been living under a rock, since everyone I knew had a version of the treat. Of course, their versions went by all sorts of funny names, (“matzah crack,” “Passover brittle,” the “anti-diet plan,” etc…), and they all consisted of a similar recipe involving sheets of matzah, caramel, and chocolate.
For this week’s recipe you’ll need some already-made Matzah Toffee Crunch on hand. If you haven’t tried this perfect for Passover confection yet, you’ll want to. Here are some recipes to get you started:
The Basic Matzah Toffee Crunch (and my personal favorite) via Epicurious
A version of the above with sea-salt and pistachios via HuffingtonPost For more variations, be sure to check out this post from ZoeBakes.
TIP: Yehuda Matzos also makes a Gluten-free matzah that works with this recipe!
Although it’s hard to improve on this Passover fan favorite, I knew there was a way to really push it. As a bonafide chocoholic, the first thing that came to mind, of course, was more chocolate. Thus, the Matzah Toffee Truffle was created. In the (albeit rare) event that you find yourself with extra matzah toffee crunch lying around, use it to make these rich, indulgent chocolate truffles. The truffles are fun to make and are the perfect way to end Passover on a high note.
*Note: I am working in conjunction with PJ Library on several recipes featuring Yehuda Matzos. Although I am being compensated for my recipes, my opinions expressed regarding Yehuda Matzo are honest and entirely my own.
A few weeks ago, my friend and editor of The Nosher, Shannon, came to visit. We planned to spend some time together visiting, cooking, and bridging the gaps within our relationship that had developed via email and online correspondence. It was so nice to meet Shannon in person, and we quickly realized we had lots in common.
When Shannon asked me what she could bring to our gathering, I suggested she stop at my all-time favorite bakery, Porto’s, to pick up my #1 treat: Guava and Cheese Pastries, which Porto’s accurately calls, “Refugiados,” or “Refugees.” I’ve explained in the past that I think this is the perfect name for these strudels, because one bite of these babies transports any Cuban-native right back to their motherland! But for my culinary adventure with Shannon, I had big plans for this batch.
This pastry works great regular-sized or in the 2-bite variety.
Since I no longer live particularly close to this bakery, I decided that under Shannon’s watchful eye, I would attempt to duplicate the guava and cheese magic at home. Fear not, loyal Porto’s fans… I still plan to buy them when I’m in the area, but for the 95% of the time that I am not, I thought it’d be a good idea for me to learn to make them myself. The good news? They’re SUPER simple to make! The bad news? They’re SUPER simple to make!
Evidence of our official taste test. Can you tell which is which?
Although I love to cook, I’ve never believed baking to be my strength in the kitchen. Sure, I can hold my own with a few cakes and breads, but a baker I am not (at least, not yet). Shannon, on the other hand, has proven herself to be a baking maven, and I was so thankful she were here during my big experiment. She suggested alternative tips and tricks to help me master this dish, and in the end, our official taste-testers had a very difficult time telling the difference between the original and the home-made version.
Shannon gets close for an official kitchen selfie.
To Shannon, I am thrilled that our mutual love of food and blogging brought us together, and am immensely thankful for the opportunity to be a contributor to The Nosher. You’re welcome to visit anytime!
*I do hear from time to time that some of the more authentically Cuban ingredients I use are sometimes hard to find. If you have a hard time finding guava paste at your local international market, know that it is easy to find online. Here’s a link to a Kosher variety.
Guava and cheese are the stars of the classic Cuban breakfast pastry.
1 Tbs. powdered sugar
1 egg, whisked
1 tsp. water
1 box of frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
1 8oz bar of cream cheese
1 package of guava paste
1 Tbs. coarse sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Create an egg wash by combining the whisked egg and the water in a small bowl. Set aside.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on flat surface, and lay out puff pastry dough on top.
Cut dough into 12 equal squares, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In the middle of 6 of the squares, add 1 heaping Tbs. of guava paste and top with 1 heaping Tbs. of cream cheese (Note: The amount of filling depends on personal taste). Brush the perimeter of these squares with egg wash.
On the other 6 squares, score the top with 3-4 lines, lengthwise, careful not to slice all the way to the top and bottom of the square. Top the the previous 6 squares. Press edges to seal.
(Optional: You can now add an extra horizontal score on each end of the dough to add in extra puffing).
Brush the top dough with egg wash, sprinkle with coarse sugar, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and fully puffed.
Let stand on baking sheet for 3 minutes, and then cool on wire rack.
note: To make mini-pastries, cut each of the 6 squares in 4, and fill accordingly. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed and golden.